April 9, 2016 – Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)

Requested by: gepwin

The largest species of duck in the Northern Hemisphere, Common Eiders breed along the coasts of Europe, North America, and eastern Siberia. They eat mostly mussels and other mollusks, along with various crustaceans, sea urchins, aquatic insects, small fish, and some vegetation on their breeding grounds. Females build nests on the ground, often near plants or rocks by the water, or on cliffs. They line the shallow nest depressions with plant materials and lots of down, which helps keep the eggs warm in the cold climates of their breeding habitats. In Iceland and other locations, down is harvested sustainably from nest shelters built for the birds.